I recently read an article written by my classmate, Hali Fechtmeyer, on the death penalty. She makes it clear that the policy is flawed, and notes that Marvin Wilson was executed even though he was considered to be mentally retarded while growing up. Her main issue with the death penalty is that we don't treat mentally ill citizens who are on death row well. However, she is still in support of this means of punishment because she doesn't want to be surrounded by those who have committed awful crimes.
I, personally, believe we should abolish the death penalty, especially considering the fact that many innocent people are executed annually. One such example that Fechtmeyer notes is the Willingham case, in which he was found out to be innocent after being killed under the accusation that he murdered his three daughters. To me, if even one innocent person is put to death, it is a faulty system. I understand the argument that keeping criminals in jail is more expensive for the state than killing them, but we really must consider the consequences of wrongfully murdering a person. They are MUCH worse than slightly higher taxes. It can also be argued that the death penalty is extraordinarily costly because of the means by which we kill the criminals (or in some cases, innocent citizens). In fact, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, it costs an additional $90,000 per year to keep someone on death row rather than in a maximum security prison.
To conclude, I believe that there are many flaws with the death penalty system and it must be abolished because of the incredibly high cost at stake (human lives).